The QT interval, an electrocardiographic measure reflecting myocardial repolarization, is a heritable trait. QT prolongation is a risk factor for ventricular arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death (SCD) and could indicate the presence of the potentially lethal Mendelian Long QT Syndrome (LQTS). Using a genome-wide association and replication study in up to 100,000 individuals we identified 35 common variant QT interval loci, that collectively explain ∼8-10% of QT variation and highlight the importance of calcium regulation in myocardial repolarization. Rare variant analysis of 6 novel QT loci in 298 unrelated LQTS probands identified coding variants not found in controls but of uncertain causality and therefore requiring validation. Several newly identified loci encode for proteins that physically interact with other recognized repolarization proteins. Our integration of common variant association, expression and orthogonal protein-protein interaction screens provides new insights into cardiac electrophysiology and identifies novel candidate genes for ventricular arrhythmias, LQTS,and SCD.
genome-wide association study; QT interval; Long QT Syndrome; sudden cardiac death; myocardial repolarization; arrhythmias
Refractive error (RE) is a complex, multifactorial disorder characterized by a mismatch between the optical power of the eye and its axial length that causes object images to be focused off the retina. The two major subtypes of RE are myopia (nearsightedness) and hyperopia (farsightedness), which represent opposite ends of the distribution of the quantitative measure of spherical refraction. We performed a fixed effects meta-analysis of genome-wide association results of myopia and hyperopia from 9 studies of European-derived populations: AREDS, KORA, FES, OGP-Talana, MESA, RSI, RSII, RSIII and ERF. One genome-wide significant region was observed for myopia, corresponding to a previously identified myopia locus on 8q12 (p = 1.25×10−8), which has been reported by Kiefer et al. as significantly associated with myopia age at onset and Verhoeven et al. as significantly associated to mean spherical-equivalent (MSE) refractive error. We observed two genome-wide significant associations with hyperopia. These regions overlapped with loci on 15q14 (minimum p value = 9.11×10−11) and 8q12 (minimum p value 1.82×10−11) previously reported for MSE and myopia age at onset. We also used an intermarker linkage- disequilibrium-based method for calculating the effective number of tests in targeted regional replication analyses. We analyzed myopia (which represents the closest phenotype in our data to the one used by Kiefer et al.) and showed replication of 10 additional loci associated with myopia previously reported by Kiefer et al. This is the first replication of these loci using myopia as the trait under analysis. “Replication-level” association was also seen between hyperopia and 12 of Kiefer et al.'s published loci. For the loci that show evidence of association to both myopia and hyperopia, the estimated effect of the risk alleles were in opposite directions for the two traits. This suggests that these loci are important contributors to variation of refractive error across the distribution.
Many patients with type 1 diabetes develop renal disease despite moderately good metabolic control, suggesting other risk factors may play a role. Recent evidence suggests that the haptoglobin (HP) 2-2 genotype, which codes for a protein with reduced antioxidant activity, may predict renal function decline in type 1 diabetes. We examined this hypothesis in 1,303 Caucasian participants in the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial/Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications (DCCT/EDIC) study. HP genotype was determined by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Glomerular filtration rate was estimated by the Chronic Kidney Disease Epidemiology Collaboration (CKD-EPI) equation and albumin excretion based on timed urine samples. Participants were followed up for a mean of 22 years. HP genotype was significantly associated with the development of sustained estimated glomerular filtration rate (GFR) <60 mL/min/1.73 m2 and with end-stage renal disease (ESRD), with HP 2-2 having greater risk than HP 2-1 and 1-1. No association was seen with albuminuria. Although there was no treatment group interaction, the associations were only significant in the conventional treatment group, where events rates were much higher. We conclude that the HP genotype is significantly associated with the development of reduced GFR and ESRD in the DCCT/EDIC study.
Little is known about the genetic factors that contribute to familial colorectal cancer type X (FCCX), characterized by hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal carcinoma with no mismatch repair defects. Genetic linkage analysis, exome sequencing, tumor studies, and functional investigations of 4 generations of a FCCX family led to the identification of a truncating germline mutation in RPS20, which encodes a component (S20) of the small ribosomal subunit and is a new colon cancer predisposition gene. The mutation was associated with a defect in pre–ribosomal RNA maturation. Our findings show that mutations in a gene encoding a ribosomal protein can predispose individuals to microsatellite-stable colon cancer. Evaluation of additional FCCX families for mutations in RPS20 and other ribosome-associated genes is warranted.
Colon Cancer; Hereditary Nonpolyposis Colorectal Cancer; Ribosome; Exome Sequencing; FCCX, hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer type X; rRNA, ribosomal RNA
Visual refractive errors (REs) are complex genetic traits with a largely unknown etiology. To date, genome-wide association studies (GWASs) of moderate size have identified several novel risk markers for RE, measured here as mean spherical equivalent (MSE). We performed a GWAS using a total of 7280 samples from five cohorts: the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS); the KORA study (‘Cooperative Health Research in the Region of Augsburg’); the Framingham Eye Study (FES); the Ogliastra Genetic Park-Talana (OGP-Talana) Study and the Multiethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Genotyping was performed on Illumina and Affymetrix platforms with additional markers imputed to the HapMap II reference panel. We identified a new genome-wide significant locus on chromosome 16 (rs10500355, P = 3.9 × 10−9) in a combined discovery and replication set (26 953 samples). This single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) is located within the RBFOX1 gene which is a neuron-specific splicing factor regulating a wide range of alternative splicing events implicated in neuronal development and maturation, including transcription factors, other splicing factors and synaptic proteins.
Skin fluorescence (SF) is a non-invasive marker of AGEs and is associated with the long-term complications of diabetes. SF increases with age and is also greater among individuals with diabetes. A familial correlation of SF suggests that genetics may play a role. We therefore performed parallel genome-wide association studies of SF in two cohorts.
Cohort 1 included 1,082 participants, 35–67 years of age with type 1 diabetes. Cohort 2 included 8,721 participants without diabetes, aged 18–90 years.
rs1495741 was significantly associated with SF in Cohort 1 (p < 6 × 10−10), which is known to tag the NAT2 acetylator phenotype. The fast acetylator genotype was associated with lower SF, explaining up to 15% of the variance. In Cohort 2, the top signal associated with SF (p = 8.3 × 10−42) was rs4921914, also in NAT2, 440 bases upstream of rs1495741 (linkage disequilibrium r2 = 1.0 for rs4921914 with rs1495741). We replicated these results in two additional cohorts, one with and one without type 1 diabetes. Finally, to understand which compounds are contributing to the NAT2–SF signal, we examined 11 compounds assayed from skin biopsies (n = 198): the fast acetylator genotype was associated with lower levels of the AGEs hydroimidazolones of glyoxal (p = 0.017).
We identified a robust association between NAT2 and SF in people with and without diabetes. Our findings provide proof of principle that genetic variation contributes to interindividual SF and that NAT2 acetylation status plays a major role.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00125-014-3286-9) contains peer-reviewed but unedited supplementary material, which is available to authorised users.
Acetylation; Genome-wide association study; NAT2; Skin autofluorescence; Skin fluorescence; Skin intrinsic fluorescence
Pleiotropy, which occurs when a single genetic factor influences multiple phenotypes, is present in many genetic studies of complex human traits. Longitudinal family data, such as the Genetic Analysis Workshop 18 data, combine the features of longitudinal studies in individuals and cross-sectional studies in families, thus providing richer information about the genetic and environmental factors associated with the trait of interest. We recently proposed a Bayesian latent variable methodology for the study of pleiotropy, in the presence of longitudinal and family correlation. The purpose of this work is to evaluate the Bayesian latent variable method in a real data setting using the Genetic Analysis Workshop 18 blood pressure phenotypes and sequenced genotype data. To detect single-nucleotide polymorphisms with pleiotropic effect on both diastolic and systolic blood pressure, we focused on a set of 6 single-nucleotide polymorphisms from chromosome 3 that was reported in the literature to be significantly associated with either diastolic blood pressure or the binary hypertension trait. Our analysis suggests that both diastolic blood pressure and systolic blood pressure are associated with the latent hypertension severity variable, but the analysis did not find any of the 6 single-nucleotide polymorphisms to have statistically significant pleiotropic effect on both diastolic blood pressure and systolic blood pressure.
The focus of our work is to evaluate several recently developed pooled association tests for rare variants and assess the impact of different gene annotation methods and binning strategies on the analyses of rare variants under Genetic Analysis Workshop 18 real and simulated data settings. We considered the sample of 103 unrelated individuals with sequence data, genotypes of rare variants from chromosome 3, real phenotype of hypertension status and simulated phenotypes of systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP), and covariates of age, sex, and the interaction between age and sex. In the analysis of real phenotype data, we did not obtain significant results for any binning strategy; however, we observed a slight deviation of the p-values from the uniform distribution based on the protein-damaging variant grouping strategy. Evaluation of methods using simulated data showed lack of power even at the conservative level of 0.05 for most of the causal genes on chromosome 3. Nevertheless, analysis of MAP4 produced good power for all tests at various levels of the tests for both DBP and SBP. Our results also confirmed that Fisher's method is not only robust but can also improve power over individual pooled linear and quadratic tests and is often better than other robust tests such as SKAT-O.
Groups of genes assigned to a pathway, also called a module, have similar functions. Finding such modules, and the topology of the changes of the modules over time, is a fundamental problem in understanding the mechanisms of complex diseases. Here we investigated an approach that categorized variants into rare or common and used a hierarchical model to jointly estimate the group effects of the variants in a pathway for identifying enriched pathways over time using whole genome sequencing data and blood pressure data. Our results suggest that the method can identify potentially biologically meaningful genes in modules associated with blood pressure over time.
Grouping variants based on gene mapping can augment the power of rare variant association tests. Weighting or sorting variants based on their expected functional impact can provide additional benefit. We defined groups of prioritized variants based on systematic annotation of Genetic Analysis Workshop 18 (GAW18) single-nucleotide variants; we focused on variants detected by whole genome sequencing, specifically on the high-quality subset presented in the genotype files. First, we divided variants between coding and noncoding. Coding variants are fewer than 1% of the total and are more likely to have a biological effect than noncoding variants. Coding variants were further stratified into protein changing and protein damaging groups based on the effect on protein amino acid sequence. In particular, missense variants predicted to be damaging, splice-site alterations, and stop gains were assigned to the protein damaging category. Impact of noncoding variants is more difficult to predict. We decided to rely uniquely on conservation: we combined (a) the mammalian phastCons Conserved Element and (b) the PhyloP score, which identify conserved intervals and the single-nucleotide position, respectively. This reduced the noncoding variants to a number comparable to coding variants. Finally, using gene structure definition from the widely used RefSeq database, we mapped variants to genes to support association tests that require collapsing rare variants to genes. Companion GAW18 papers used these variant priority groups and gene mapping; one of these paper specifically found evidence of stronger association signal for protein damaging variants.
The biobreeding diabetes-prone (BBDP) rat spontaneously develops type 1 diabetes. Two of the genetic factors contributing to this syndrome are the major histocompatibility complex (Iddm1) and a Gimap5 mutation (Iddm2) responsible for a T-lymphopenia. Susceptibility to experimentally induced type 1 diabetes is widespread among nonlymphopenic (wild-type Iddm2) rat strains provided they share the BBDP Iddm1 allele. The question follows as to whether spontaneous and experimentally induced type 1 diabetes share susceptibility loci besides Iddm1. Our objectives were to map a novel, serendipitously discovered Iddm locus, confirm its effects by developing congenic sublines, and assess its differential contribution to spontaneous and experimentally induced type 1 diabetes.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
An unexpected reduction in spontaneous type 1 diabetes incidence (86 to 31%, P < 0.0001) was observed in a BBDP line congenic for a Wistar Furth–derived allotypic marker, RT7 (chromosome 13). Genome-wide analysis revealed that, besides the RT7 locus, a Wistar Furth chromosome 8 fragment had also been introduced. The contribution of these intervals to diabetes resistance was assessed through linkage analysis using 134 F2 (BBDP × double congenic line) animals and a panel of congenic sublines. One of these sublines, resistant to spontaneous type 1 diabetes, was tested for susceptibility to experimentally induced type 1 diabetes.
Both linkage analysis and congenic sublines mapped a novel locus (Iddm24) to the telomeric 10.34 Mb of chromosome 8, influencing cumulative incidence and age of onset of spontaneous type 1 diabetes but not insulitis nor experimentally induced type 1 diabetes.
This study has identified a type 1 diabetes susceptibility locus that appears to act after the development of insulitis and that regulates spontaneous type 1 diabetes exclusively.
Identification of single-gene causes of steroid-resistant nephrotic syndrome (SRNS)
has furthered the understanding of the pathogenesis of this disease. Here, using a
combination of homozygosity mapping and whole human exome resequencing, we identified
mutations in the aarF domain containing kinase 4 (ADCK4) gene in 15
individuals with SRNS from 8 unrelated families. ADCK4 was highly similar to ADCK3,
which has been shown to participate in coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
biosynthesis. Mutations in ADCK4 resulted in reduced
CoQ10 levels and reduced mitochondrial respiratory enzyme activity in
cells isolated from individuals with SRNS and transformed lymphoblasts. Knockdown of
adck4 in zebrafish and Drosophila recapitulated
nephrotic syndrome-associated phenotypes. Furthermore, ADCK4 was expressed in
glomerular podocytes and partially localized to podocyte mitochondria and foot
processes in rat kidneys and cultured human podocytes. In human podocytes, ADCK4
interacted with members of the CoQ10 biosynthesis pathway, including COQ6,
which has been linked with SRNS and COQ7. Knockdown of ADCK4 in podocytes resulted in
decreased migration, which was reversed by CoQ10 addition. Interestingly,
a patient with SRNS with a homozygous ADCK4 frameshift mutation had
partial remission following CoQ10 treatment. These data indicate that
individuals with SRNS with mutations in ADCK4 or other genes that
participate in CoQ10 biosynthesis may be treatable with CoQ10.
The NOX2 NADPH oxidase complex produces reactive oxygen species and plays a critical role in the killing of microbes by phagocytes. Genetic mutations in genes encoding components of the complex result in both X-linked and autosomal recessive forms of chronic granulomatous disease (CGD). Patients with CGD often develop intestinal inflammation that is histologically similar to Crohn's colitis, suggesting a common aetiology for both diseases. The aim of this study is to determine if polymorphisms in NOX2 NADPH oxidase complex genes that do not cause CGD are associated with the development of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Direct sequencing and candidate gene approaches were used to identify susceptibility loci in NADPH oxidase complex genes. Functional studies were carried out on identified variants. Novel findings were replicated in independent cohorts.
Sequence analysis identified a novel missense variant in the neutrophil cytosolic factor 2 (NCF2) gene that is associated with very early onset IBD (VEO-IBD) and subsequently found in 4% of patients with VEO-IBD compared with 0.2% of controls (p=1.3×10−5, OR 23.8 (95% CI 3.9 to 142.5); Fisher exact test). This variant reduced binding of the NCF2 gene product p67phox to RAC2. This study found a novel genetic association of RAC2 with Crohn's disease (CD) and replicated the previously reported association of NCF4 with ileal CD.
These studies suggest that the rare novel p67phox variant results in partial inhibition of oxidase function and are associated with CD in a subgroup of patients with VEO-IBD; and suggest that components of the NADPH oxidase complex are associated with CD.
To identify genetic predictors of diabetes-associated ED using genome
wide and candidate gene approaches in a cohort of men with type I
We examined 528 white men with T1D (125 with ED) from the DCCT and
its observational follow up EDIC Study. ED was defined from a single item of
the IIEF. An Illumina Human1M BeadChip was used for genotyping. 867,125
single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were subjected to analysis. Whole
genome and candidate gene approaches tested the hypothesis that genetic
polymorphisms may predispose men with T1D to ED. Univariate and multivariate
models were used controlling for age, HbA1c, diabetes duration, and prior
randomization to intensive or conventional insulin therapy during DCCT. A
stratified false discovery rate was used to perform the candidate gene
Two SNPs located on chromosome 3 in one genomic loci were associated
with ED with p < 1×10−6. rs9810233 had a
p-value of 7 × 10−7 and rs1920201 had a p-value
of 9×10−7 The nearest gene to these two SNPs is
ALCAM. The genetic association results at these loci were similar in
univariate and multivariate analysis. No candidate genes met criteria for
Two SNPs, rs9810233 and rs1920101, which are 25 kb apart, are both
associated with ED, albeit not meeting the standard GWAS significance
criteria of p < 5 × 10−8. Other studies with
larger sample sizes will be required to determine whether ALCAM represents a
novel gene in the pathogenesis of diabetes associated ED.
Erectile Dysfunction; Diabetes; Genetics
Refractive error is the most common eye disorder worldwide, and a prominent cause of blindness. Myopia affects over 30% of Western populations, and up to 80% of Asians. The CREAM consortium conducted genome-wide meta-analyses including 37,382 individuals from 27 studies of European ancestry, and 8,376 from 5 Asian cohorts. We identified 16 new loci for refractive error in subjects of European ancestry, of which 8 were shared with Asians. Combined analysis revealed 8 additional loci. The new loci include genes with functions in neurotransmission (GRIA4), ion channels (KCNQ5), retinoic acid metabolism (RDH5), extracellular matrix remodeling (LAMA2, BMP2), and eye development (SIX6, PRSS56). We also confirmed previously reported associations with GJD2 and RASGRF1. Risk score analysis using associated SNPs showed a tenfold increased risk of myopia for subjects with the highest genetic load. Our results, accumulated across independent multi-ethnic studies, considerably advance understanding of mechanisms involved in refractive error and myopia.
Haptoglobin (Hp) is an abundant serum protein which binds extracorpuscular hemoglobin (Hb). Two alleles exist in humans for the Hp gene, denoted 1 and 2. Diabetic individuals with the Hp 2-2 genotype are at increased risk of developing vascular complications including heart attack, stroke, and kidney disease. Recent evidence shows that treatment with vitamin E can reduce the risk of diabetic vascular complications by as much as 50% in Hp 2-2 individuals. We sought to develop a rapid and accurate test for Hp phenotype (which is 100% concordant with the three major Hp genotypes) to facilitate widespread diagnostic testing as well as prospective clinical trials.
A monoclonal antibody raised against human Hp was shown to distinguish between the three Hp phenotypes in an enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Hp phenotypes obtained in over 8000 patient samples using this ELISA method were compared with those obtained by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis or the TaqMan PCR method.
Our analysis showed that the sensitivity and specificity of the ELISA test for Hp 2-2 phenotype is 99.0% and 98.1%, respectively. The positive predictive value and the negative predictive value for Hp 2-2 phenotype is 97.5% and 99.3%, respectively. Similar results were obtained for Hp 2-1 and Hp 1-1 phenotypes. In addition, the ELISA was determined to be more sensitive and specific than the TaqMan method.
The Hp ELISA represents a user-friendly, rapid and highly accurate diagnostic tool for determining Hp phenotypes. This test will greatly facilitate the typing of thousands of samples in ongoing clinical studies.
diabetes; ELISA; haptoglobin phenotype; pharmacogenomics; vitamin E
Percent mammographic density adjusted for age and body mass index (BMI) is one of the strongest risk factors for breast cancer and has a heritable component that remains largely unidentified. We performed a three-stage genome-wide association study (GWAS) of percent mammographic density to identify novel genetic loci associated with this trait. In stage 1, we combined three GWASs of percent density comprised of 1241 women from studies at the Mayo Clinic and identified the top 48 loci (99 single nucleotide polymorphisms). We attempted replication of these loci in 7018 women from seven additional studies (stage 2). The meta-analysis of stage 1 and 2 data identified a novel locus, rs1265507 on 12q24, associated with percent density, adjusting for age and BMI (P = 4.43 × 10−8). We refined the 12q24 locus with 459 additional variants (stage 3) in a combined analysis of all three stages (n = 10 377) and confirmed that rs1265507 has the strongest association in the 12q24 region (P = 1.03 × 10−8). Rs1265507 is located between the genes TBX5 and TBX3, which are members of the phylogenetically conserved T-box gene family and encode transcription factors involved in developmental regulation. Understanding the mechanism underlying this association will provide insight into the genetics of breast tissue composition.
Percent mammographic density (PMD) is a strong and highly heritable risk factor for breast cancer. Studies of the role of PMD in familial breast cancer may require controls, such as the sisters of cases, selected from the same 'risk set' as the cases. The use of sister controls would allow control for factors that have been shown to influence risk of breast cancer such as race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status and a family history of breast cancer, but may introduce 'overmatching' and attenuate case-control differences in PMD.
To examine the potential effects of using sister controls rather than unrelated controls in a case-control study, we examined PMD in triplets, each comprised of a case with invasive breast cancer, an unaffected full sister control, and an unaffected unrelated control. Both controls were matched to cases on age at mammogram. Total breast area and dense area in the mammogram were measured in the unaffected breast of cases and a randomly selected breast in controls, and the non-dense area and PMD calculated from these measurements.
The mean difference in PMD between cases and controls, and the standard deviation (SD) of the difference, were slightly less for sister controls (4.2% (SD = 20.0)) than for unrelated controls (4.9% (SD = 25.7)). We found statistically significant correlations in PMD between cases (n = 228) and sister controls (n = 228) (r = 0.39 (95% CI: 0.28, 0.50; P <0.0001)), but not between cases and unrelated controls (n = 228) (r = 0.04 (95% CI: -0.09, 0.17; P = 0.51)). After adjusting for other risk factors, square root transformed PMD was associated with an increased risk of breast cancer when comparing cases to sister controls (adjusted odds ratio (inter-quintile odds ratio (IQOR) = 2.19, 95% CI = 1.20, 4.00) or to unrelated controls (adjusted IQOR = 2.62, 95% CI = 1.62, 4.25).
The use of sister controls in case-control studies of PMD resulted in a modest attenuation of case-control differences and risk estimates, but showed a statistically significant association with risk and allowed control for race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status and family history.
Mammographic density; case-control study; overmatching; case control
To investigate the underlying phenotypic constructs in autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and to identify genetic loci that are linked to these empirically derived factors.
Exploratory factor analysis was applied to two datasets with 28 selected Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R) algorithm items. The first dataset was from the Autism Genome Project (AGP) phase I (1,236 ASD subjects from 618 families); the second was from the AGP phase II (804 unrelated ASD subjects). Variables derived from the factor analysis were then used as quantitative traits in genome-wide variance components linkage analyses.
Six factors, joint attention, social interaction and communication, non-verbal communication, repetitive sensory-motor behaviour, peer interaction, and compulsion/restricted interests, were retained for both datasets. There was good agreement between the factor loading patterns from the two datasets. All factors showed familial aggregation. Suggestive evidence for linkage was obtained for the joint attention factor on 11q23. Genome-wide significant evidence for linkage was obtained for the repetitive sensory-motor behaviour factor on 19q13.3.
This study demonstrates that the underlying phenotypic constructs based on the ADI-R algorithm items are replicable in independent datasets; and the empirically derived factors are suitable and informative in genetic studies of ASD.
autism; ADI-R; factor analysis; linkage analysis; quantitative trait
The search for susceptibility genes in autism and autism spectrum disorders (ASD) has been hindered by the possible small effects of individual genes and by genetic (locus) heterogeneity. To overcome these obstacles, one method is to use autism-related subphenotypes instead of the categorical diagnosis of autism since they may be more directly related to the underlying susceptibility loci. Another strategy is to analyze subsets of families that meet certain clinical criteria to reduce genetic heterogeneity.
In this study, using 976 multiplex families from the Autism Genome Project consortium, we performed genome-wide linkage analyses on two quantitative subphenotypes, the total scores of the reciprocal social interaction domain and the restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior domain from the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised. We also selected subsets of ASD families based on four binary subphenotypes, delayed onset of first words, delayed onset of first phrases, verbal status, and IQ ≥ 70.
When the ASD families with IQ ≥ 70 were used, a logarithm of odds (LOD) score of 4.01 was obtained on chromosome 15q13.3-q14, which was previously linked to schizophrenia. We also obtained a LOD score of 3.40 on chromosome 11p15.4-p15.3 using the ASD families with delayed onset of first phrases. No significant evidence for linkage was obtained for the two quantitative traits.
This study demonstrates that selection of informative subphenotypes to define a homogeneous set of ASD families could be very important in detecting the susceptibility loci in autism.
Autism; genetic heterogeneity; IQ; language; linkage analysis; schizophrenia
Diabetic kidney disease, or diabetic nephropathy (DN), is a major complication of diabetes and the leading cause of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) that requires dialysis treatment or kidney transplantation. In addition to the decrease in the quality of life, DN accounts for a large proportion of the excess mortality associated with type 1 diabetes (T1D). Whereas the degree of glycemia plays a pivotal role in DN, a subset of individuals with poorly controlled T1D do not develop DN. Furthermore, strong familial aggregation supports genetic susceptibility to DN. However, the genes and the molecular mechanisms behind the disease remain poorly understood, and current therapeutic strategies rarely result in reversal of DN. In the GEnetics of Nephropathy: an International Effort (GENIE) consortium, we have undertaken a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of T1D DN comprising ∼2.4 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) imputed in 6,691 individuals. After additional genotyping of 41 top ranked SNPs representing 24 independent signals in 5,873 individuals, combined meta-analysis revealed association of two SNPs with ESRD: rs7583877 in the AFF3 gene (P = 1.2×10−8) and an intergenic SNP on chromosome 15q26 between the genes RGMA and MCTP2, rs12437854 (P = 2.0×10−9). Functional data suggest that AFF3 influences renal tubule fibrosis via the transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β1) pathway. The strongest association with DN as a primary phenotype was seen for an intronic SNP in the ERBB4 gene (rs7588550, P = 2.1×10−7), a gene with type 2 diabetes DN differential expression and in the same intron as a variant with cis-eQTL expression of ERBB4. All these detected associations represent new signals in the pathogenesis of DN.
The global prevalence of diabetes has reached epidemic proportions, constituting a major health care problem worldwide. Diabetic kidney disease, or diabetic nephropathy (DN)—the major long term microvascular complication of diabetes—is associated with excess mortality among patients with type 1 diabetes. Even though DN has been shown to cluster in families, the underlying genetic and molecular pathways remain poorly defined. We have undertaken the largest genome-wide association study and meta-analysis to date on DN and on its most severe form of kidney disease, end-stage renal disease (ESRD). We identified new loci significantly associated with diabetic ESRD: AFF3 and an intergenic locus on chromosome 15q26 residing between RGMA and MCTP2. Our functional analyses suggest that AFF3 influences renal tubule fibrosis, a pathological hallmark of severe DN. Another locus in ERBB4 was suggestively associated with DN and resides in the same intronic region as a variant affecting the expression of ERBB4. Subsequent pathway analysis of the genes co-expressed with ERBB4 indicated involvement of fibrosis.
Percent mammographic breast density (PMD) is a strong heritable risk factor for breast cancer. However, the pathways through which this risk is mediated are still unclear. To explore whether PMD and breast cancer have a shared genetic basis, we identified genetic variants most strongly associated with PMD in a published meta-analysis of five genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and used these to construct risk scores for 3628 breast cancer cases and 5190 controls from the UK2 GWAS of breast cancer. The signed per-allele effect estimates of SNPs were multiplied with the respective allele counts in the individual and summed over all SNPs to derive the risk score for an individual. These scores were included as the exposure variable in a logistic regression model with breast cancer case-control status as the outcome. This analysis was repeated using ten different cut-offs for the most significant density SNPs (1-10% representing 5,222-50,899 SNPs). Permutation analysis was also performed across all 10 cut-offs. The association between risk score and breast cancer was significant for all cut-offs from 3-10% of top density SNPs, being most significant for the 6% (2-sided P=0.002) to 10% (P=0.001) cut-offs (overall permutation P=0.003). Women in the top 10% of the risk score distribution had a 31% increased risk of breast cancer [OR= 1.31 (95%CI 1.08-1.59)] compared to women in the bottom 10%. Together, our results demonstrate that PMD and breast cancer have a shared genetic basis that is mediated through a large number of common variants.
breast cancer; mammographic density; SNPs; polygenic; Mendelian Randomisation
Background & Aims
RAC1 is a GTPase that has an evolutionarily conserved role in coordinating immune defenses, from plants to mammals. Chronic inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) are associated with dysregulation of immune defenses. We studied the role of RAC1 in IBD using human genetic and functional studies and animal models of colitis.
We used a candidate gene approach to HapMap-Tag single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in a discovery cohort; findings were confirmed in 2 additional cohorts. RAC1 mRNA expression was examined from peripheral blood cells of patients. Colitis was induced in mice with conditional disruption of Rac1 in phagocytes by administration of dextran sulphate sodium (DSS).
We observed a genetic association between RAC1 with ulcerative colitis (UC) in a discovery cohort, 2 independent replication cohorts, and in combined analysis for the SNPs rs10951982 (Pcombined UC = 3.3 × 10–8, odds ratio [OR]=1.43 [1.26–1.63]) and rs4720672 (Pcombined UC=4.7 × 10–6, OR=1.36 [1.19–1.58]). Patients with IBD who had the rs10951982 risk allele had increased expression of RAC1, compared to those without this allele. Conditional disruption of Rac1 in macrophage and neutrophils of mice protected them against DSS-induced colitis.
Studies of human tissue samples and knockout mice demonstrated a role for the GTPase RAC1 in the development of UC; increased expression of RAC1 was associated with susceptibility to colitis.
innate immunity; Crohn's disease; CD; Rac-1 knockout
While it is apparent that rare variation can play an important role in the genetic architecture of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), the contribution of common variation to the risk of developing ASD is less clear. To produce a more comprehensive picture, we report Stage 2 of the Autism Genome Project genome-wide association study, adding 1301 ASD families and bringing the total to 2705 families analysed (Stages 1 and 2). In addition to evaluating the association of individual single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), we also sought evidence that common variants, en masse, might affect the risk. Despite genotyping over a million SNPs covering the genome, no single SNP shows significant association with ASD or selected phenotypes at a genome-wide level. The SNP that achieves the smallest P-value from secondary analyses is rs1718101. It falls in CNTNAP2, a gene previously implicated in susceptibility for ASD. This SNP also shows modest association with age of word/phrase acquisition in ASD subjects, of interest because features of language development are also associated with other variation in CNTNAP2. In contrast, allele scores derived from the transmission of common alleles to Stage 1 cases significantly predict case status in the independent Stage 2 sample. Despite being significant, the variance explained by these allele scores was small (Vm< 1%). Based on results from individual SNPs and their en masse effect on risk, as inferred from the allele score results, it is reasonable to conclude that common variants affect the risk for ASD but their individual effects are modest.
Homozygosity outlier loci, which show patterns of variation that are extremely divergent from the rest of the genome, can be evaluated by comparison of the homozygosity under Hardy-Weinberg proportions (the sum of the squares of allele frequencies) with the expected homozygosity under neutrality. Such outlier loci are potentially under selection (balancing selection or directional selection) when genome-wide effects (such as bottleneck and rapid population growth) are excluded. Outlier loci show skewed allele frequencies with respect to neutrality and may therefore affect the identification of pedigree errors. However, choosing neutral markers (excluding outlier loci) for the identification of pedigree errors has been neglected thus far. Our results showed that 4.1%, 5.5%, and 1.5% of the microsatellite markers, Illumina single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), and Affymetrix SNPs, respectively, on the autosomes appear to be under balancing selection (p ≤ 0.01) while 0.8% of the Affymetrix SNPs are consistent with directional selection. On the X-chromosome, 7.7%, 3.2%, and 0.4% of the microsatellite markers, Illumina SNPs, and Affymetrix SNPs, respectively, appear to be under balancing selection. 9.3% of Illumina SNPs and 6.7% of Affymetrix SNPs which have high minor allele frequency (≥40%) appear to be under balancing selection. Pedigree structure errors in 15 of 143 pedigrees were detected using microsatellite markers from the autosomes and/or selected SNPs from chromosomes 1 to 18 of the Illumina and/or selected SNPs from chromosomes 1 to 16 of the Affymetrix. Outlier loci did not make a major difference to the identification of pedigree errors. The Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism data has pedigree errors and some of them may be due to sample mix up.